Dec 012012
 

Peace Hill

Just outside of  Cruz Bay heading North on 20 (North Shore Road) sits Peace Hill. Peace Hill is home to windmill ruins from the colonial and days and the former Christ of the Caribbean.  There is easy access to the Peace Hill trail head and plenty of parking.   Although the Christ of the Caribbean is no longer there the view and the ruins are worth the trip.

The Christ of  the CaChrist of Caribbeanribbean – In 1953, Col. Wadsworth commissioned St. Johnians Terrence Powell and Thomas Thomas to construct the Christ of the Caribbean.  The statue overlooked and blessed the land and sea.     Remarkably, as it seemed to  have the properties of a sail, the creation withstood numerous hurricanes.  However, it finally succumbed to the strength of Hurricane Marylyn in 1995.  The islanders decided not reconstruct  the statue. Much like the petroglyphs, the Christ of the Caribbean was a symbol of St. John and you could find, for example , gold and silver pendants in the shape of the statue in local shops.   After almost twenty years they are harder to find.

Peace Hill is still home to ruins of the Denis Bay area of the Susannaberg Plantation.   The very short hike (.1 mile) up to Peace Hill provides some incredible views of the north coast of St. John and is still a peaceful retreat.  You can venture further to explore the area, but be certain to take the time to visit Peace Hill on your way to the beach.

Peace Hill RuinsPeace Hill ViewPeace Hill ViewPeace Hill View 3

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Nov 092012
 

The artistic and eclectic touch of Roy Imhoff can be seen throughout the Hummingbird Hill Villa. Although not a native, Roy has been traveling to the Island of St. John for over 40 years and has captured St.John in numerous watercolors and pen and inks. Below is some recent work. Additional work is currently on display on St. John at BAJO El SOL (Under The SUN) Gallery. www.bajoelsolgallery.com. Or visit www.royimhoff.comWoodies Saloon, St. John USVI

Woodies Saloon

Late afternoon is ‘Very Happy Hour ” at Woodies in Downtown Crus Bay.

 

 

 

The Beach Bar, St. John USVI

 

The Beach Bar

With the work week a distant memory, Sunday afternoons listening to Live Jazz and enjoying a beer are a pleasant relief.

Entering Cruz Bay, St. John USVI

 

 

Entering Cruz Bay

When the Ferry enters the Harbor and passes the old Government Complex on the left, you’ve arrived.  It was 50 years ago, on our first time here and the battery hasn’t changed.

Stop by Cap's Place for a cold one, St. John USVI

Cap’s PlaceBarry's Auto Service, St. John USVI

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Sep 292012
 

Map at trail head Leinster Bay

Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay – Great Beach – Great Snorkeling

After visiting the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins,  take the 0.8 mile hike to Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay.  The path to the beach is flat and shaded.   The walk hugs the shoreline and you hear the soft sounds of the surf.   The area is a nesting ground for Sea Turtles and you are bound to see them on your adventure.

From the beach, you can access the fine snorkeling around Waterlemon Cay, the small island just offshore.  The shoreline water is shallow, and the sea floor is a mixture of sand and coral rubble. You will find that  the sea-life accessible to snorkelers is abundant along the shoreline as you head out to the Cay, so be prepared to spend time mask down enjoying the scenery.  It is about a 0.2-mile snorkel to the edge of the reef off Waterlemon Cay.

Along with the turtles you will see stingray’s, sea cucumbers, blue tangs, parrotfish, sea fans and sea plumes, starfish, barracuda, clown fish, squid etc… While the turtles pop their heads up the pelicans take a dive.   Leinster/Waterlemon Cay is a great experience. The sound of the small waves and calm waters on the beach makes for a relaxing day. The trip to Waterlemon adds the adventure.

Waterlemon Cay - St.John USVI

Waterlemon Cay is the small island in the center
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Aug 062012
 

Donkeys, goats and Iguanas – oh St. John. Coming face to face with the wild life on St. john is easy. Goats, donkeys and chickens regularly roam the streets. Occasionally a pig will cross Gifft Hill Road just before Centerline Road (Rte. 10). Make the right from Gifft Hill Road to Centerline and you usually see Elsie the cow roadside. Like going to the farm.

You learn to share the road in St. John

On the road to Salt Pond we visited with some friendly animals.

DonkeyGoats freely roaming the roadRoadside view of another friendly CowBananaquit at Hummingbird Hill, St. John USVI

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Jun 132012
 

I ran across some great photos  in two wonderful posts about St. John by Annie at TRAVELSHUS.  Have a read to learn more about the beauty of St. John USVI.

Click on the titles below to see the full posts with great photography at TRAVELSHUS.  -  Enjoy

Notable Photos: Island Life on St John

The Natural Side of the US Virgin Islands

Maho Bay beachCoconut preparation in Cruz BayCurious Donkey Face in the car

Photos by TRAVELSHUS

 

 

 

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May 302012
 

I decided not to stay on the beach as the sign just outside of Caneel Bay Resort for the Caneel trail was on my mind. My wife had done the trial years ago and said the view was spectacular. So I dropped my son and his friend off at Hawksnest Beach while I ventured the trail for my first time. I did a loop that took me first to the Water Catchment.      (A wrong turn took me to  Centerline road) but I ventured back and finally made the climb to Margaret Hill – worth the effort. My total time on the trail was just under two hours.

Here is my hike in words, images and video. If you get the chance take the trail.

Caneel Trail Mileage

Margaret Hill - Water Catchment Trail Map, St. John USVI

My Trail Map for hike to the Water Catchment and Margaret Hill Overlook, St. John USVI

I parked at the entrance to the trial on Rte. 20 just across the entrance to Caneel Bay. I had Margaret Hill as a destination, but first stopped at Water Catchment. I realized later that the trail sign at the trail head needs to be combined with the a trail map (see below and combination on the left) as I at first did not understand how I got to the Catchment first, then up to Centerline Road.  I went back to an unmarked cutoff where I should have gone right, not left .  However,  it was all worth it as I eventually made my way to the wonderful view at Margaret Hill.

National Park Map - Caneel Hill Trail

Caneel Trail National Park Map

 

 

Quickly into the hike you encounter an old stone retaining wall.

This beautiful stone wall is encountered quickly on the hike

You then begin your ascent on a well groomed trail.

Begin your ascent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the path takes you to the Water Catchment. The catchment is an extensive concrete slab that catches rainwater, leading it into a basin for temporary storage. The water is piped through the force of gravity to the Caneel Bay Resort.

Water Catchment at St. John USVI

Water Catchment, St. John USVI

There are views from various spots when you get close to the top. I was able to slip between some rocks to experience some great views before a small side trail gives you access to a “Platform Rock” with panoramic views.

View from Margaret Hill, St. John USVI

View from Margaret Hill

 

 

 

 

 

A short Margaret Hill trail video

The Caneel Hill portion of this trail can be accessed from Cruz Bay and is a bit more challenging.  The easiest way to get to the Margaret Hill views is to access the trail from Centerline Road.  When you exit the gate at Hummingbird Hill Villa, turn left.  Then turn left onto Centerline road.  The trial entrance will be on your right.   Enjoy your stay on St. John, USVI!

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May 012012
 

While making improvements at Cinnamon Bay  a possible 2,000 year old effigy face was uncovered.  The V.I. National Park archaeology officials are now looking for help to find more interesting objects.  The surprise discovery has the limited VINP Archaeology staff asking for public help.

VINP Archaeology Dig at Cinnamon Bay

VINP Archaeology Dig at Cinnamon Bay

Interested volunteers should show up at Cinnamon Bay Campground anytime after 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and be ready to get their hands dirty.

For more information call the VINP archeology lab at 340-715-8580.

See full story reported  in Tradewinds: http://www.stjohntradewindsnews.com/index.php/576-news/04-2012-news/8044-archaeologists-looking-for-volunteers-for-cinnamon-bay-campground-dig

Effigy Face Artifact found at Cinnamon Bay

Effigy Face Artifact found at Cinnamon Bay

 

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Apr 132012
 

A hike to Annaberg  - A wonderful self guided tourThe Historic Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins on the Island of St. John offers a great look into the history of sugar production on the island.  The Annaberg Historic District is located east of Mary Point accessible by the North Shore and Leinster Bay roads on St. John’s north shore.  Annaberg is easily accessible as a short 0.2 mile walk brings you to the historic site which is maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park and open to the public. It is a great stop on your way to nearby Leinster Bay, where there is terrific snorkeling.

This visit was special. A holiday celebration provided a treat as the islanders were celebrating with live music and island fare.

Annaberg was once one of the larger sugar plantations on St. John. The remains of the 40 foot windmill and horsemill, used to crush the sugar cane to extract its juice, still stand. Much of the sugar factory, where the juice was boiled and condensed to make raw sugar, remain as well, as does part of the rum still. Cultural demonstrations, including baking “dumb bread” and basket weaving take place Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Annaberg Windmill

To get to Annaberg from Hummingbird Hill: 

Turn left out of the gate on to Gifft Hill Road (Rt 104.)
At the end turn right onto Centerline Road (RT. 10).
From Centerline Road, turn north on Route 20 near the Colombo Yogurt stand.  Head down the hill and turn right at the first intersection. 
This will take you to the Leinster Bay shoreline where you will turn right and proceed to the Annaberg parking area at the end of the paved road.

Check out the directions on the interactive park service maps.

St. John  Off The Beaten Track by Gerald Singer

 

For more information on Annaberg see St. John USVI Places: Annaberg – Excerpted from St. John Off the Beaten Track © 2006 Gerald Singer

Or the National Park Service website or an old Park Service brochure on the Annaberg Sugar Mill

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Dec 032011
 

One of the great things about St. John, USVI is its natural attractions.  Whether you want to relax at the beach, hike or take on more adventurous excursions, St. John offers opportunities  for the entire family to enjoy.  This article appeared in the Holiday 2011 edition of Going Places  in Chicago Parent and was  written by Linda Marsicano.  It touches a few of  the options St. John offers with insight from Frank Barnako author of the News of St. John Blog.  Check it out and hopefully it will inspire  you to make the trip – you won’t be disappointed!

St. John: Nature’s playground

Linda Marsicano

There are no water parks, no mini-golf courses and no kid-centric all-inclusives on the 28-square-mile island of St. John in the U.S Virgin Islands. Yet this picturesque tropical destination, accessible only by ferry, has something more captivating than manmade entertainment for families-it boasts attractions only nature can create.

Two-thirds of the island is protected as national park territory, providing a safeguard against the rampant development that permeates much of the Caribbean... Read the Full article at http://chicagoparent.com/magazines/going-places/2011-holiday/st-john  

 

There is great hiking, plenty of beautiful beaches to explore and the occasional wildlife:) around the corner!

World's best beaches

Beautiful Beaches

Goats roam the streets

Don't forget the goats

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Aug 302011
 

A trip to Vie’s is a treat.  Not very much on the menu – but who cares – the conch fritters are great.   A quick snack and pay a few dollars to sit on Vie’s beach- A great day and true Island experience.

Vie's Snack Shack a must for Conch Fritters

Vie's Snack Shack a must for Conch Fritters

Vie's Beach

Vie's Beach

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